tv [untitled] March 4, 2011 11:00pm-11:30pm EST
and fleda. these are the images the world has been seeing from the streets of canada. china operations are today. oh i'm sergeant in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture it's friday and that means it's time for conversations with great minds we have congressman dennis was soon ish to talk about how he got into politics and his thoughts on the liberal protests in ohio wisconsin and are you ready to rumble we'll break down the top stories of the night of the week it's a nice big picture rumble which side will blink first in wisconsin still me and should fat cat bankers be in jail and later ideally take on the on equal protection
here in t. but the supreme court. for tonight's conversations of great minds i'm happy to be joined by a man who devoted his life to progressive politics he's been a mare is currently united states congressman has run for president of states twice as a servant of the people he's spoken out for working families across our nation and spoken out against foreign wars and corporate powers like to welcome the eight term congressman from ohio and his son is congressman welcome to the program and thank you tom i'm really honored to be on the show thank you for your thoughtfulness in inviting me thank you it's you we do the show in two pieces and i'd like to get
into your kind of early life we want gotcha politics in the first you know eight or ten minutes or so and then and then after the break get into your thoughts on contemporary politics of what's ok. you have an unusual story of growing up the oldest. seven children if you buy facts right here your family moved twenty one times you were often responsible for fun and a place to live and it's also a little bit about that how that influenced your worldview well i know that for many people life can be very difficult now i am very grateful for the opportunities i had as a child because i i learned that as langston hughes once wrote for many people life ain't no crystal stair and so when you understand that there are people out there who have trouble. having a roof over their heads people have trouble making ends meet for whom having an education is the biggest thing in life you learn to relate to
a lot of people and i think about my growing up in cleveland with a sense of joy and at the same time i'm i'm i'm mindful that i had some breaks that others didn't get including people my own family which have enabled me to be here today and to be talking to you. you were. you once lived in a car or couple times that i can leave was forged under understood by circumstances we couldn't find a place to rent the family as a group of seven children it was tough to find a place to rent so sometimes we have new cars you know it's interesting i grew up as the oldest of four boys a. three bedroom household one bathroom which thinking about it now in the. context of it and my dad was a union guy it worked and. you know it wasn't rich in fact the first couple years i remember he was selling encyclopedias door to door and we were living on. cheese
from surplus place you know but so i'd seen both sides of that but i always felt growing up i never felt poor i agree with that i have to agree that it all in fact you know it seems i like that you said that because i too experienced it as an adventure yeah it wasn't that there was temper of ation but when i look back at it i saw i can see that it actually helped to strengthen me and to develop a sense of compassion so that you realize that for some people you know what they go through and to also understand that no matter what conditions we find ourselves in that with a little bit of pluck hand block we can leap over them. what were the biggest influences in your life well certainly early influence i'd say my spiritual training in catholicism and then later and a whole. range of religions that put me on
a philosophical journey i see the world as one as being interconnected and interdependent i think that what affects one of us affects all of us i understand where the various religious traditions merge and and in that understanding i see the material world and that our responsibility is to help the material world elevate itself with sand the sand. if i and and i get the connection between matter and spirit i think about that and so that that informs the way i look at the world informs my work for peace my my desire to show people how we can create wealth in ways that maybe people had thought about my belief in the. essential humanity of all this and also from my own experience my belief that one person can make a difference well i'm curious if there was one person made a difference in your life is there a role model or a person that was a particular you know wrote this book called courage to survive and i dedicated it
to three people two sister leona who really helped my family through some tough periods and made sure we had close when you know when we were going through that stuff period to a doctor how dare lopez who was a doctor who took care of people in the inner city and just retired recently is actually now a member of my staff and to my high school football coach people who care when i was a four foot nine inch quarterback third string cancer is in cleveland. i met him in my sophomore year and he really taught me a sense of discipline where we have to breed and young people have to breed in a sense of discipline it that becomes who they are later in life and had a real impact on my life first time i met you you and i were both speaking to here in d.c. that marianne williamson putting on this was just about fourteen years ago yes years ago there abouts to she and barbara marx of are kicking off this department of peace thing i'm not sure that barbara starr was exactly right that's right and
you know we sweet talk briefly but we were both speakers so it was more like on ships in the night but we both knew mary ann quite well and i'm wondering. your thoughts on how that concept of a department of peace ties in with your spiritual ality and you or your life experience there that's because because all the politicians are gone oh this is an article that well that case is inevitable war is not inevitable we're conditioned to believe that wars you know but of oh but peace is not simply the absence of war it's it's a capacity that we have to be able to relate to each other to be able to see one another person as an aspect of oneself and when we and to be able to tap the potential that each one of us has to evolve that's what barbara. and mary and william talk women talk about so it's about being the best we can be and to be able to relate to each other not from a sense of power but
a sense of inner equality and so when we get to that point when we see that we are all truly connected that the human genome theory states what in the material world what we know is truly spiritual and that is we're all one and if we come from that understanding then you don't not war because your way you mourn yourself. it's it's that's that's the ultimate statement that's really truly is what caused you to get into politics a desire to make a difference a belief that my life and for that matter all of our lives don't belong only to ourselves that we have an obligation to serve the community there are many different ways to serve i have to choose a path of public involvement and i felt drawn to that i felt drawn to it by the presidency of john f. kennedy when he spoke his inauguration over fifty years ago and said let the word go forth from this time and place that the torch had been passed to a new generation when i was sitting in systems to be in his home room at age of fourteen i heard that and i thought his talking to me and then when he said ask not
what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country i felt that call as i think a number of people in our generation felt absolutely from seventy seven seventy nine you were the fifty third mirror of cleveland. the mafia put a hit on you and you almost shot except for the fact that you were a hospital i mean this is you took on a big power utility. is that simple really wild stuff back then you know in the big city mayor business actually finally after thirty years putting the finishing touches on a book about that in a movie treatment about it because it was a classic struggle between the interest of community and corporate interests which really sought to steal a city's municipal electric system using the bank's power to finance the. two so financed the city's debt as as a weapon so i was told you either sell the municipal utility that provided power to a third of the city at a savings to people who put it under electric go sell it to them at the price that
was dictated by the private utility or the bank that was a business part of the utility was going to refinance the city's credit i refused to sell under extraordinary conditions and for the first time in a modern history of the united states a city was put into a technical or financial default because the mayor refused to accept the dictates of corporations out of this shakeout well i mean i lost the next election i was out of politics for a long time it took me a long time to make a comeback and i actually put myself back together again it was when you spend your life believing that if you do the right thing. it will always work out and then you do the right thing and it doesn't work out right away that's a shake up time and so i i had to go through that dark night of the soul and we all do it one time or the other and i have to rework that experience so where i was in a victim where i played a role and i made some decisions and to where i learned that all of the players in
that were great teachers to me where they all taught me something and so i include that experience of who i am today and it's made me more aware and actually better able to serve you're one of the few politicians that i know that has gone from being pro-life to pro-choice can you speak to that or is that you know i think that i think all life is precious but i think once it becomes a political issue that we in america can make abortions less necessary through prenatal care postnatal care child care universal health care a living wage and create a climate where all life would truly be valued from you know not just during the time of conception but when one birth occurs and for a time you know my own catholic faith i felt very strongly that there was only one way to look at it but then the women in my life and people from other faiths
started to share their point of view i listened carefully and i decided that we need to we need to heal the nation on this issue we can you cannot heal it by saying it has to be my way or no way are there many different ways to look at the world and i think we can steer a course where those who are concerned about abortion and i understand their concern where there will be satisfied by knowing that we'll have a country where where abortion is wouldn't be seen as a first option for some people and for those who are concerned about protecting a woman's right to choose which i think is something that we absolutely have to do and protect the privacy of women that we could we can. do they do so it's not this isn't one of those cases where we need to go for the palais ready and lock ourselves into a position of diametrically opposed views we have to look to harmonize the possibilities of holding life is sacred and at the same time making sure that we make abortions less necessary in the society and we can do that or where i've
often suggested or thought that if we're ever going to have a national referendum on that mention of purchase of it what you really need is men need to take a healing position on this we have to realize the effect of patriarchy that the mindset of patriarchy that we write that we inherit and that that it causes us to act almost unconsciously i think it was. i think i'm trying to think of the author of. can't think of her last name but anyhow there was a book that i read that talked about the nature of patriarchy and really we have to think that you know we we cannot just ignore. the voices of women course or on both sides of the issue but those who have concerns about a woman's woman sense of agency over her own life and this could take us into your confederacy all kinds of different directions. and this will be right back still
ahead here with us in the big picture more with congressman akin to censure conversations the great sex. drives the world the fear mongering used by politicians who makes decisions it's going to triple breakthrough a bit sort of the point made who can you trust no one who is in view with a global mission we see where we had a state controlled capitalism it's called sasha's when nobody dares to ask we do our t. question morning. h.l. marvin here broadcasting live from washington d.c. coming up today on the big picture.
about conversations with great minds i'm speaking with a term congressman from ohio two time presidential candidate and profoundly influential progressive force as such congressman. you ran for president choice now it's. that had to be an amazing experience and i'm guessing that there were things before you went into it that you expected that didn't happen and things that you hadn't even anticipated did i'm curious what the experience was like and. you know what you might want to tell the average american about what it means not
you know both from the viewpoint of being a voter looking at people trying to run for president and also you know there might be somebody out there who someday will be president you watch the first thing that i was surprised about as i went across the country in two thousand and three in two thousand and four was how much americans are alike were told that you know we were state by state the differences are so profound and and there's differences and in race color creed class there's an underlying unity in this country and it's the responsibility of anyone who would lead this country be able to find that and to be able to express it and speak to it and and so that was my first discovery the underlying unity that exists in america the reason why we we can we can cognize this idea of an america it does exist it does exist in communities across the country and what. what would you share with somebody who
is looking at presidential candidates and trying to make some sort of a sorting process out of it almost seems like there's a lot of posturing or a lot of areas where well we can't talk about that or we shouldn't go there and it's almost predictable or maybe not you know which one of us that you see you seem to be the most unpredictable i think that's what each one of us had is voters have the responsibility to. look deeply in anyone we want to support what we think of supporting i mean it's it's it's probably more than ever. possible for us to find out information in some ways we're overloaded with information and then you have to make a decision from the heart. so i guess that's it you know you you gain information but don't make your decision only based on that information people have to trust their intuition. and yet go beyond that i want to have a beer with this guy. as well you know i mean but it does most people have to be or voters will i mean if we if we i mean george bush is genius if you look back in the
two thousand election was that he seemed more approachable than al gore and one on the other hand in which you got to nuoro al gore which i did have in campaign with him. he was out you know he had an outrageous sense of humor but you never saw that so he did it came across as stiff and wooden whereas bush had this bone killer nature that people it was kind of the appeal of the common man and that's you know it's images and but we have to be sensitive to how those images cause people to make decisions on candidates absolutely. i'm curious what you think is going to emerge out of what's going on right now in wisconsin in particular in your home state of ohio where there isn't so much of a battle because the republicans have such a large majority that democrats don't have much to fight back with. again in kind of the inaugural kennedy's inaugural talked about a long twilight struggle we're looking at a long twilight struggle between representatives of workers in labor
and those who have either government or corporate power in trying to knock down wages. take away benefits dictate working conditions this is a real struggle for the soul of a democracy whether or not workers will truly have anything to say about the conditions that they have that if you look at the history of the labor movement it has it's happened over over one hundred and forty years of struggle hundred fifty years of struggle that parallel the civil rights struggle itself and people were given rights to safe work place they were just given rights where there were probations on child labor slave labor though there were laws that came to be the eight hour day was created by a law of the the fact that people have to be paid a certain wage that is a law and so we have to realize that the growth of our democracy has paralleled the
the rise of a movement which gave workers a certain set of rights in a society the right to have a union the right to collective bargaining the right to strike the right to decent wages and benefits these are rights that are part and parcel of expressing who we are in a democratic society so if those rights are under attack that is a barometer of the quality of our democracy being undermined and in. and eroding so so the this is our political dark night of soul this is this is of this is a long battle we're looking at i'm curious about your thoughts on the health care bill you voted in favor of a health care bill that didn't have a public option and certainly was not a single payer bill right. you're the guy who and i think two thousand and four claimed it was i gave you credit for it a chapter in our book. coined the phrase medicare part d.
for everybody. what are your thoughts on it well john conyers i authored a bill. universal single payer not for profit health care sixty five and six seven six and we introduced in one congress after another and has a national constituency we have almost ninety members of congress and signed on to it at one time and there is a constituency for medicare for all it's out there but what's happened is the insurance companies have so much power they have caused american people to believe that it's not possible to have any reform at all so ultimately what the debate came down to with president obama was whether we were going to have reform within the context of both for profit system because if you can't even get reform within the context of a for profit system how in the world can we hope to translate some day from for profit to not for profit and so my vote which was very difficult for me to help president obama's bill go forward was really in the hopes that we keep the idea of
of transformation of health care alive while we make some change in a for profit system but i'm still dedicated to seeing a not for profit system medicare for all it may be at the state level we'll have the chance to advance that in places like vermont and other places where single payer is finally getting some traction yet seems like this piece of legislation actually set the table for a lot of potentially good things and it's a user economic issue in town one out of every three dollars in the system right now goes for for profit for the corporations for corporate salaries. for us stock options advertising marketing cost of paperwork has nothing to do with health care if you took if we took that money and put it into care we would have enough for people to have all medically necessary costs covered pleasure vision care dental care mental health care prescription drug long term care we have no money to cover it all it's just that we're not doing now because we have a for profit system just like we would we would end up being just like every other
developed country. a novel idea you voted against the u.s.a. patriot act against the military commissions act you were one of the six who voted against the violent radicalization and home grown terror act and you've advocated for the department of peace. your thoughts on those votes and and just the idea you know james madison said no democracy no nation can survive but he says that iraq receives that was the lives of the silent note nation can survive in a time of war or in a perpetual war where we are living in an era of perpetual war the dollar wrote the book perpetual war for power for perpetual peace well we we have to realize we've been sold a phony bill of goods on this global war on terror which gives the government our government the ability to go anywhere in search of dragons to slay which we're worried about from the inception of this country and so we have to look at the wars
we're in a war in iraq based on lies war in afghanistan based on a misreading of history the incursion into pakistan dangerous really dangerous the attempt to destabilize other governments in the region the failure to look at the plight of the palestinian state their concerns that about the american train america's policy trying to encircle russia we have really done it wrong everywhere and so we have to move away from the rule of force we have to move towards a model of cooperation and diplomacy of equality of recognizing that all nations have a stake in equality we cannot try to grab the world's resources using our military power that may have been done in another area can't be done anymore and so i vote i voted against the patriot act because i saw it as a destructive undermining of our civil liberties here at home also because i wrote the bill i voted against the military commissions act because i saw again a splitting schism between that bill and the constitution of the united states
which gives people certain rights to a trial and to be presented with the evidence against them. there our country has still gone from nine eleven we have not recovered and what we need to do is we have to try to reimagine. what capacity we had for connecting with each other prior to nine eleven also nine ten commission we need a period of reconciliation and truth telling in america so that we can move on we had the community doing here last week let's approach the international president greenpeace he fought in the south african movement as a fifteen year old starting out you know and as thoughts on the peace and reconciliation commission were. very positive a little ambivalent at times you've actually introduced articles of impeachment against bush and. cheney in the two minutes we have left your thoughts on the lessons we could learn from south africa or lessons that we might learn from
other adventures which south africa brought everyone forward who was involved in apartheid and their cruelties that happened and they had to come forward with their story and then there were there was a determination about what would be the right. sentence or condition that they'd have to adhere to in order to be forgiven. president bush and dick cheney and secretary rumsfeld and secretary rice and all of those who were involved at that time are in very difficult situation because we went to war in iraq based on lies and frankly there has to be an atonement and at one point so that we can transcend those lies and get back to the truth telling and. right now that's not happening. mr you know
president bush and vice president cheney in particular and secretary months ago have to be called an accounting but they should be made to stand trial and if they can't be not if not in this country which doesn't seem you know what we're capable of a politically right now they should have to answer to a world tribunals under international law absolutely because otherwise who are we as a nation how can we say a million iraqi lives don't mean anything when we know that lies were told write us into war we how do we how do we keep it sane off of our our national conscience so i think that america can move beyond this we can create a new nation but we have to reclaim our honor by causing those who led us into a war based on lies to be held accountable. so that with you know that we have it wrapped up congressman dennis kucinich thanks so much for being as shit still ahead here on the big picture are you ready to rumble break down the top stories of the week.
the world the fear mongering used by politicians who makes decisions to break through a thirty three million who can you trust no one who is in view with the oval machinery see where we had a state controlled capitalism it's called sasha's when nobody dares to ask. we do our teen question more of. a charmer in here broadcasting live from washington d.c. coming up today on the big picture.